Estonia, 23. June 2018.
USA, April 2018.
Cesis, Latvia, July 2017.
Cinque Terre, Italy, August 2017.
I'm back from a trip to US southwest national parks. We drove 3500+ kilometers and visited Yosemite, Death Valley, Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree National Parks. It was mostly about experience and not pictures, I didn't even have my main camera with me. I still managed to grab a couple of pictures I like, this one possibly the best of them.
After years in pursuit of technical quality, I've found Polaroids :)
It could well be that these are the first ever photos I publish of my hometown Tartu. Made on the same day - morning and evening.
Tartu, Estonia, November 2015.
Another beautiful autumn morning with exceptionally soft light. Couldn't resist taking some photos. Here's the one I liked the most.
Kavastu, Estonia, October 2015.
I shot something totally different over this weekend - a polaroid camera (a camera using instant film - you get prints straight out of camera, no sensors/computers/postprocessing, even no negative nor development). And I have totally mixed feelings now :) My thoughts just don't form nice sentences by default so I'm going to throw them at you in a bulleted list:
- I like the fact that there's black and white medium (or should I call it film?) available. You don't think about shooting BW polaroid into sunset. And it's just fine to shoot during harsh midday contrast. After a few frames contrasts are the only thing you think about.
- I like the format - it's very close to 4x5 which I've used for some time now. Just that until now I've cropped my digital files to 4x5, while this camera shoots it natively. Remark: this was Image/Spectra camera, the usual 600 and SX-70 cameras shoot square, which I prefer not.
- I like the physicality of the out outcome - you get nicely finished prints in about 10 minutes.
- I like the random defects at the borders, it's so analogue.
- It is what it is - there's nothing to adjust after the picture is taken, you don't crop, you don't retouch a polaroid.
- If you just have 8 frames in a pack (that costs 22€ - which should be part of the not-so good-list) it makes you slow down and think, consider different compositions, not just shoot 20 rather random frames hoping to get one so-so photo in post.
I like the restrictions it forces - they make you think towards specific pictures, not try to capture anything aimlessly. I was totally fine shooting just 7 frames during a day trip, while the usual digital mileage is in the order of few hundred.
OK, there's a lot things I liked, now about the not-so-good things:
- Contrast is poor, like really poor. I'm not sure if this was due to the film being old or kept in improper conditions or that's the way it should be. Need more testing here. Version 2.0 of the Impossible film had a bit more contrast and deeper blacks, but for now it's only available in square format (Polaroid 600 cameras). As I said before, I prefer not to shoot square.
- Although you get your prints immediately, the prints are small and resolution is non-existent. At this size you'd need a lot of resolution if you'd like to scan and print these images bigger.
- There's no fine detail - it's a mixture of non-existent resolution and poor contrast.
Why I still want to shoot polaroid is that it teaches you to convey your idea to the viewer in a very basic form, you don't have all the arsenal of photographic tricks at your disposal, all you have is something just barely better than a pencil drawing.
A pencil drawing - now that I think about, it seems very good comparison. It's so basic it first teaches you visual alphabet of it's own, you'll get to the language later.
Why I'm a bit reluctant to use polaroid for anything serious is that there's almost nothing you can do with the picture after it's taken, in a sense that you can't enlarge it, you can't print it bigger, you can't do an exhibition of polaroids (or maybe you can if you matt them?), you can - maybe - put them into small book. Makes me give another look to the polaroid books like Helmut Newton's and Mike Brodie's.
Feels good to publish a new photo or two from time to time :)
Since I saw the first pictures of the newly renovated building of Kohtla Mining Museum, I wanted to photograph it. It's an beautiful combination of glass, polished concrete and rusting old metal.
Finally, I can publish some new material on this blog :) Spent two evenings over the last weekend walking around Sillamäe, tested my new Zeiss 21mm lens and ended up with a couple of photos I like.